At Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, we take a unique approach to the diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD. Proper evaluation is given first priority. ADD and ADHD symptoms can surface at various stages of one's life, and just because a person has coped successfully to a certain point in their lives, does not mean that they do not have ADD. Many adults go through life struggling with ADD without it being recognized or adequately treated, leading to poor self-esteem, difficulties in work and problems in relationships. Conversely, ADD and ADHD are often misdiagnosed in both adolescents and adults alike. We have seen many adults and adolescents where a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, mood disorder or even substance abuse disorder is overlooked and that person is misdiagnosed as "ADHD".
After appropriate evaluation, a treatment plan is constructed. Medication is often very helpful, but is not always the right answer. We feel that in adolescents in particular, medications are very often overprescribed, with potentially dangerous and lifelong consequences. We work with each patient individually, and personalize a treatment approach that can include, coaching, life skills, psychotherapy, and medication.
Adult ADD and ADHD:
Attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) were initially described as neurobehavioral conditions affecting only adolescents. It is now widely recognized that many people go through life with these conditions. Sometimes a person may be coping with ADD for much of their life without consequences, and then it hits them when they are a challenged in a higher level of school, or at a more demanding job. Adult ADD affects the executive function of the brain--the brain functions that activate, organize and manage other functions. They cause problems with attention, impulsivity, and overactivity. A diagnosis depends on the specific syndromes (inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive and combined). Predominant symptoms include having difficulty focusing attention on a task, being easily distracted or bored, struggling to follow instructions, fidgeting, and impatience.
Diagnostic Evaluation of ADD/ADHD
At Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, Diagnostic Evaluation by a well-trained psychiatrist is a prerequisite for the treatment of ADD and ADHD, along with neuropsychological testing. Evaluations are personalized based on the age of the patient, presenting symptoms and previous history. Methods of treatment include Psychotherapy, Behavior Modification and coaching, and Medication.
In adolescents, misdiagnosis can be stigmatizing, and medications carry serious side effects and potential long-term risk. Sometimes anxiety disorders or even mood disorders are missed, and without proper treatment, these conditions persist and or worsen. Meanwhile, more and more medications added due to the frustration of both doctor and patient. We feel that careful diagnosis along with treatment based on psychotherapy and judicious use of medication provides the most effective long-term success. Effective treatment can make huge differences in self-esteem and performance of a adolescent, and through adulthood enhance productivity and even improve one's ability to sustain relationships.
In adults, ADD and ADHD can be uncovered as a result of psychological testing and psychiatric evaluation. Many people with addiction, and also other psychiatric disorders have underlying, untreated and undiagnosed Adult ADD. Methods of treatment include some combination of psychotherapy, behavior modification and medication.